Skip to main content
9:00 pm
[ gunfire ] tonight, the sounds of explosions and heavy gunfire echoing across libya's capital. u.s. missiles light the mediterranean sky.
9:01 pm
operation odyssey dawn under way. a coalition of western and arab states are unleashing strikes on libyan targets right now. the allies' goal, the stop moammar gadhafi from butchering his own citizens to stay in power. tonight, he shows no signs of backing down. at least not yet. a spokesman for his embattled government calls the allied attack "barbaric." good evening, i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we would like to welcome our viewers from around the world. this is a special edition of "the situation room," "target libya." but we begin with breaking news. cnn is live tonight across libya with what's going on. our senior international correspondent nic robertson is reporting from tripoli where sounds of attacks echoed through the night. and our correspondent arwa damon is with us, she's in benghazi where rebels have been trying to hold on to that city. let's get to both of them in just a moment.
9:02 pm
but first, in just the last hour, we've heard explosions and gunfire across tripoli. >> no word yet who exactly is behind it. it comes hours after libya first felt the brunt of operation odyssey dawn. a barrage of tomahawk cruise missiles rained down of french jets attacked a military vehicle near benghazi. a fighter jet belonging to the opposition was shot out of the sky and witnesses tell cnn they came under artillery assaults from gadhafi's forces, prompting many to run for their lives. let's go right back to libya and nic robertson in tripoli, arwa damon in benghazi. nic, set the scene for us, what has happened where you are only within the past few minutes?
9:03 pm
>> reporter: wolf, there were a couple of very loud explosions followed by bursts and barrages of anti-aircraft gunfire. and tracers flying up into the sky, high over the trees around the woods where we are. the gunfire sounded as if it was coming from moammar gadhafi's palace complex, about a mile or so away from where we're located. we were in that complex a little earlier this evening. there was a pro-gadhafi rally. we saw guns dug into the walls around that palace. soldiers manning those weapons. it's not clear if it was those weapons that were firing, but certainly firing heavy anti-aircraft rounds and there were another couple of loud explosions in the distance, perhaps a couple of miles away. it's impossible to know at this time what caused those explosions but they sounded to me as if they could have been,
9:04 pm
as if they could have been cruise missiles landing and exploding. certainly a very heavy reverberation. we've heard a couple of sporadic bursts of heavy anti-aircraft fire, but it does seem to have gone fire in the past few minutes. >> nic, you were in baghdad 20 years ago when our old friend and colleague bernie shaw utderred "the skies over baghdad have been illuminated." now it seems the skies over tripoli have been illuminated. give us the sense of the same versus the different as to what happened then versus what's happening now. >> reporter: we feel, wolf, in 1991, and again in 2003, what we heard and saw over the skies of baghdad, something different to what we're seeing and hearing here. in iraq, you could hear the anti-aircraft guns picking up, getting louder and louder and louder as the cruise missiles
9:05 pm
and aircraft came closer to the center of the city. what saddam hussein had was an anti-aircraft system that was radar -- had a radar warning system attached to it. so as the missiles came in closer, the anti-aircraft batteries picked up. as they came closer to the center of the city, the batteries there picked up and et cetera. what we're seeing in tripoli are traps just a couple of lone anti-aircraft guns firing in the sky. so we're not seeing those huge, long multiple long lines of wavering tracer fire going up. we had multiple anti-aircraft gunfire back then. now it's just one or two. one anti-aircraft gun, perhaps
9:06 pm
four barrels with the one we saw earlier, firing tracer rounds which were flying up into the sky, moving around as if they were moving the weapon, trying to find their target in the sky, wolf. >> what time is it approximately in tripoli right now? >> reporter: wolf, it's just after 3:00 in the morning here. so the dead of night. it was perhaps 2:30 or thereabouts when we first heard the explosions and the anti-aircraft weaponry picked up. >> i want to go to benghazi right now, the second largest city in libya, still under the control of the rebels. our arwa damon is there. i assume the opposition, and remember, there were about 800,000 people that live in benghazi, there is a major city. i assume they're excited about the possibility now that the u.s., the europeans, some of the arab countries are directly
9:07 pm
getting involved militarily on their behalf. >> reporter: most definitely, wolf. it is especially coming as a relief given the assault carried out by gadhafi's forces that began some 24 hours ago where we saw artillery rounds landing in the city and gadhafi's forces shot down an aircraft. they do have a handful of aircraft they've managed to get off the ground. it was a fairly intense battle here. residents that we were speaking to in that area that gadhafi's forces began their assault in saying they saw troops manning their machine guns firing into civilian buildings and laughing all the way. now it did turn out that the opposition was able to drive gadhafi's troops out, but the situation afterwards remained calm but very, very tense, wolf.
9:08 pm
we were actually suspecting the city to erupt into celebratory gunfire once it was confirmed that u.s. missiles had in fact begun taking out some of gadhafi's assets, and that was not quite the case. which just goes to underscore what so many people have told us, and that is this is not yet a victory for them. they do expect gadhafi's forces to try to carry out some sort of an assault. again, they do not trust this is finished in the sense that he is going to just back off, back down, somehow stick to the turns of the cease-fire that many here want to see implemented. the fighters getting ready for battling, still very alert at this stage. >> i know, arwa, you're talking to these opposition forces, their military commanders. do we have a good sense who these libyan troops supporting gadhafi are? are they regular libyan army personnel or are they mercenaries, hired guns, if you
9:09 pm
will, from other countries? >> reporter: well, wolf, the opposition maintains and insists that gadhafi has basically bussed in and flown in a number of mercenaries and that is how he is beefing up his ranks. we have yet to see concrete evidence of that. what gadhafi has around him is not what one would think in terms of a large conventional army. what he has maintained around him in terms of his troops force is a fairly loyal, small in size, the number of battalions of troops that he has kept around him and that is who people say they are fighting against. however, they do have this extra element, fighting against gadhafi supporters, dressed as civilians. many people telling us that every single neighborhood has its own gadhafi supporters and even in benghazi, the neighborhood people know who these individuals are.
9:10 pm
they deliberately did not target them. when the assault on benghazi was taking place in a number of neighborhoods, the small pro-gadhafi pockets, sleeper cells if you want to call them that, began coming out to the streets and firing. so this does remain an issue of great concern. what are these pockets that remain loyal to them going to do as he strikes? when it comes to the forces he has, there was an interesting thing that took place. there's a building on the main road coming in, and one of these buildings that gadhafi troops was using to fire artillery from, the opposition forces found 13 men in military upform who had been executed. the opposition here believing that these were men who perhaps refused to fight their own countrymen. we have also heard reports that
9:11 pm
some of those within his ranks are beginning to defect. there are a lot of different dynamics here. >> let me go back to nic robertson in tripoli. nic, based on what you're seeing, i know the u.s., the coalition effort is to get a crack going, dissension going between gadhafi and his own military, to get them to move away from him. do you see any evidence, at least publicly, and i know you're restricted in what you can see, but that these cracks are developing? >> reporter: there are no signs of it that we've been able to see yet, crack. the troops at that stage then whoa were essentially on a roll of victories were in very good spirits, very happy, firing in the air a lot.
9:12 pm
there was no sense of that stage, that this was any compunction about rolling into the cities that were ahead of them. they did say the thing that held them back were the fact that there were civilians that the remember bells were hiding behind. but these were troops that seemed very happy and the soldiers we saw tonight at moammar gadhafi's palace seemed perhaps a little tenser than we've seen troops around here. but we haven't seen cracks at all. they seem very much to me that these are troops that are still toil at this stage, wolf. >> i want both of you to stand by for a moment because i want to bring in our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence. the pentagon very reluctant to get involved militarily in libya, but the u.s. military is
9:13 pm
now, shall we say, all in. >> that's right, wolf. to a certain extent, yes. in this early stages, in terms of taking out air defenses, the u.s. military is all in. but it looks like they will be deferring a lot of the enforcement of the no-fly zone to the european jets and pilots. but for now we've saw them taking direct aim and targeting his surface-to-air missile sites. by firing tomahawk missiles from the ships, they were able to target some of these missile sites without putting say flight crews at risk trying to fly over these assets. take a look at what a pentagon official said just a few hours ago in trying to describe where they targeted and comparing that to where the no-fly zone will hope to be established.
9:14 pm
>> on or near the coast, a fact which made it vital to enforce a no-fly zone. >> at this point, we are creating the conditions to be able to set up the no-fly zone. and once we have established and confirmed that the conditions are right, then we will move forward into the next -- one of the next phases of the campaign. >> the next phases, one of those would be continuing to pound some of his air defense sites. it's not just a matter of these ballistic missiles, but also anti-aircraft guns and weaponry, and i was told by a pentagon official that ground forces wouldn't necessarily be off the table. that they too could be attacked because the pentagon felt that some of colonel gadhafi's ground forces contained the ability or
9:15 pm
had the ability with them to fire on aircraft, wolf. >> chris, 20 years ago, i was in your shoes, i was the pentagon correspondent for cnn the night the air war started in iraq against saddam hussein to liberate kuwait at the time. and i remember that night very vividly. the halls at the pentagon were jammed. the parking lots were full. there was an excitement obviously, the u.s. was going to war. it was a lot different, 500,000 u.s. troops had been deployed to saudi arabia and elsewhere to go ahead and launch this liberation of kuwait. but what's the mood? what is it like at the pentagon on this night? >> we know that secretary gates was supposed to leave for russia today. he canceled that trip and has stayed here in washington. he's been on the phone talking to the national security adviser. normally here in the pentagon, it would be pretty e.ty on a saturday. i don't think there was anything
9:16 pm
to the level of what probably you saw 20 years ago. i don't think there are any plans right now for the u.s. to sort of continue this on a long-term basis, to insert ground troops into this area. it seems as if the u.s. effort will be -- the biggest role that the u.s. may play may be right now in the very initial stages of taking out his air defenses as this goes on. you may see the u.s. role decrease, whereas i think back in that conflict with iraq, obviously the u.s. role got dramatically bigger. >> yeah, i remember that night, the defense secretary at the time, dick cheney, general colin powell, they were there in what they call the national military command center. they were watching what's going on. i assume, albeit on a much smaller scale, that's what is going on where you are now. >> it is, but secretary gates
9:17 pm
wasn't necessarily in the building today but had been making these calls and getting the intelligence from the field commanders. it's interesting when you look at the comparisons to iraq in talking about instituting a no-fly zone, the no-fly zone worked very well in northern iraq, but you had the kurdish militias controlling the ground. the no-fly zone instituted over southern iraq did not stop saddam hussein from attacking and killing thousands of shiites there, because there was no control on the ground. so this situation in libya is closer if you want to make that comparison to southern iraq rather than a no-fly zone over northern iraq where allies control that ground there. >> we're just getting this in, chris. listen to this and i want our viewers around the world to listen. we're just getting a statement in from the british ministry of defense in london. the headline being that the
9:18 pm
british air force is now launching air strikes against targets in libya. let me read the statement. british armed forces as authorized by the security council resolution, have participated in a coordinated air strike against libya. in addition to the missiles that launched from a submarine, i can now confirm that the royal air force has also launched storm shadow missiles from a number of jets, which flew direct from royal air force as part of a coalition plan to enforce the resolution, the u.n. security council resolution. so it's not confirmation that not only the french air force have launched air strikes, but now the british air force, chris
9:19 pm
lawrence, has done exactly the same thing in addition to the tomahawk cruise missile launch that occurred earlier in the day. clear live this war is escalati escalating. >> and, again, look at the dynamic there. the united states ships providing the tomahawk cruise missiles to attack some of the sites. they say that they hit 20 of those missile sites, and it is the french yets and the brishl jets that are actually doing a lot of the actually flying over those sites. we were told that the first tom milwaukee missiles landed 3:00 eastern time. now that it's past 9:00, we're getting into the window where they may get some of the first assessments of how much they were able to degrade colonel
9:20 pm
gadhafi's air defenses, wolf. >> and a separate statement we're getting from the british defense secretary, liam fox, pointing out that these british jets flew 3,000 miles from royal air force base and back, making this, in his words, the longest range bombing mission conducted by the royal air force since the falkland conflict with argentina. so it's obviously a significant development, the defense minister of britain saying that britain will not allow the libyan regime of moammar gadhafi to win this war. they're going to comply with the u.n. security council resolution 1973. everyone stand by. we're following the breaking news. president obama certainly is vowing that he will not put american troops on the ground in libya. that's what he is saying republicly. but he's also saying the world has little choice but tody -- to
9:21 pm
defend the citizens of libya from slaughter. >> i am deeply aware of the risks of any military action, no matter what limits we place on them. i want the american people to know that the use of force is not our first choice, and is not a choice that i make lightly. but we cannot stand by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government. so we must be clear, actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced. >> meanwhile, french, british and american forces are working together to degrade libya's air defenses. but just what could a no-fly zone accomplish? how dangerous is it for coalition forces?
9:22 pm
we'll get some answers when we come back. >> so, ah, your seat good? got the mirrors all adjusted? you can see everything ok? just stay off the freeways, all right? i don't want you going out on those yet. and leave your phone in your purse, i don't want you texting. >> daddy... ok! ok, here you go. be careful. >> thanks dad. >> and call me--but not while you're driving. we knew this day was coming. that's why we bought a subaru.
9:23 pm
but you can still refinance to a fixed rate as low as 4.75% at plus, get the best deal or we'll pay you $1,000. call lending tree at... today.
9:24 pm
♪ hit the road, jack ♪ and don't you come back no more ♪ ♪ no more, no more, no more ♪ hit the road, jack ♪ and don't you come back no more ♪ [ male announcer ] want your weeds to hit the road? hit 'em with roundup extended control. one application kills weeds and puts down a barrier to stop new ones for up to four months. roundup extended control spray once. stop weeds for months.
9:25 pm
french jets take off the allied gauntlet comes down. a coalition of western and arab nations launching the first strikes on libya. welcome back to our special edition of "the situation room." it's early sunday morning in libya and the government there is under siege. operation odyssey dawn is under way. the coalition of western and arab nations hammering away at gadhafi's military. let's take a closer look. joining us is retired general mark kimet. general, the british now saying they've launched their own air strikes. the french earlier had air strikes. the u.s. and the british earlier in the day launched tomahawk cruise missiles. it looks like phase two of this military operation against gadhafi has started. >> well, it certainly does, and it certainly looks like it's much more than just a simple no-fly operation. it's clear that the objectives
9:26 pm
are well beyond simply assuring that the aircraft of the libyan air force don't fly. it looks like the objectives and the end state that the militaries are seeking is far more profound than simply keeping airplanes out of the air. >> what does that mean, to destroy the libyan military, is that what you're saying? >> look, if we are going after the command nodes, if we're going after the missile nodes, if we're going after tanks on the ground, it is clear that our objectives are more than just keeping aircraft out of the air. it looks like this is part of the larger air campaign, not dissimilar to what we saw in '99 in kosovo where the objectives are well beyond just keeping aircraft out of the air. >> what i've been told by top u.s. officials, civilian as well as military, is the real goal is to develop a wedge between
9:27 pm
gadhafi and his own military, to convince his military leaders, the generals, the colonels, the others, it's over, save yourselves and break away from gadhafi. is that what you're hearing, as well? >> well, let's look at what's really going on here. yes, in fact, we're trying to separate the warring factions, the rebels on one side and the libyan military on the other side. but that is to stop the humanitarian situation on the ground. but it's clear that we want to see gadhafi gone. we want to see not only the militaries separate, but we also want to see gadhafi evicted. whether that's done by us or whether that's done by his own people, the president has been very clear. colonel gadhafi has lost the legitimacy of his people and he's looking for different options to make sure he doesn't stay in power. >> let me ask you a blunt question on that point.
9:28 pm
we know that the u.s., the british, the french troops are going of what they call command and control headquarters for the libyan military. the commander of the libyan military is gadhafi. are they trying, in effect, to kill him? >> well, i think first what they're trying to do is isolate gadhafi from his forces. electronically or through kinetic means so he's up able to command his forces. but there's a second message and every one of those generals and colonels sitting in those command centers need to know that they're targets, too. so they have a simple equation that they have to deal with. do i want to stick with gadhafi or be on the right side of history and perhaps assist the transition within libya and make it a little more rapid than might otherwise come about than through a simple air campaign. >> general, we're being seen around the world, including in libya right now, and i assume some of the top military officers are watching cnn right now, if you have a chance to say
9:29 pm
something to these military brass in libya right now, what would you say to them? >> what i would simply say is, your leader has lost legitimacy. your leader is asking you to kill your fellow citizens. that is an illegitimate order. if you continue to follow those orders, you yourself could either be indicted in a war crimes tribunal or taken out as a legitimate target in this campaign. you have a choice. you can either continue with gadhafi or get on the right side of history and move forward to be a part of transitioning to a new libya. it's your choice and you need to make it quite soon. >> how risky is this military operation for the men and women of the united states military? >> first and foremost, it's a tremendous risk to all of the coalition pilots in the air right now. we cannot be assured of air
9:30 pm
supremacy at this point. i suspect these operations that we've been running for the last few hours have been able to take out much of the air defense and electronic jamming capabilities of the libyans, probably not all. so we've got coalition airman risking their lives right now putting their lives on the line. more than likely, there will not be a significant number of shootdowns. if there is a shootdown, even if the pilots eject, they put themselves at risk, then as prisoners of president gadhafi, colonel gadhafi. so yes, there's a tremendous risk on an individual basis for those pilots in the air or as general clark said earlier, perhaps the special operatives on the ground that are guiding some of these laser munitions onto the target. there's also the third risk, and that is perhaps from a terrorism plan, that president gadhafi, who has had tremendous amount of experience exporting terrorism
9:31 pm
for his country could certainly be initiating that plan right now. so i think there is some level of risk. that's the kind of risk that our soldiers and our coalition allies are used to on a daily basis. >> general, stand by. i want you to join us in our continuing coverage. we're just getting in a statement by the way from the libyan military. we'll share that with our viewers when we come back. as a kid, i couldn't wait to skate on that ice. what was i thinking? but i was still skating on thin ice with my cholesterol. anyone with high cholesterol may be at increased risk of heart attack. diet and exercise weren't enough for me. i stopped kidding myself. i've been eating healthier, exercising more and now i'm also taking lipitor. if you've been kidding yourself about high cholesterol, stop. lipitor is a cholesterol-lowering medication, fda approved to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who have heart disease
9:32 pm
or risk factors for heart disease. lipitor is backed by over 18 years of research. [ female announcer ] lipitor is not for everyone, including people with liver problems and women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. you need simple blood tests to check for liver problems. tell your doctor if you are taking other medications or if you have any muscle pain or weakness. this may be a sign of a rare but serious side effect. let's go! [ laughs ] if you have high cholesterol you may be at increased risk of heart attack and stroke. don't kid yourself. talk to your doctor about your risk and about lipitor.
9:33 pm
9:34 pm
cruise missiles, jet fighters, the attack against libyan targets under way as we speak right now. let's get back to libya. both sides of libya, cnn's nic robertson is joining us live
9:35 pm
from tripoli where gadhafi loyalists are head quartered. arwa damon is in benghazi. nic, remind our viewers what happened, what has happen eed where you are within the past hour. >> reporter: we heard several loud explosions followed by heavy, heavy anti-aircraft gunfire. it sounded as if the gunfire was coming up from where moammar gadhafi's palace is, about a mile or so away from where we're located here. then after perhaps a few more minutes after that heavy anti-aircraft gunfire, a couple more loud explosions, the explosions we couldn't tell what they were, but they sounded as if they could have been, could have been cruise missiles. they were that kind of size, sound and sort of general feel to them. the anti-aircraft gunfire continued and then died off sporadically over the next ten
9:36 pm
minutes. state television is showing pictures of some of what we're hearing them say here. >> they did put out a statement, the libyan military, this on libyan state tv saying that 48 martyrs, mostly women, children, religious clerics, were killed. they left more than 150 injured. the majority of these attacks, the libyan military says were hospitals, and schools. i assume that's what you're hearing from libyan officials that the u.s., the british, the french, they didn't attack military targets, they went after civilian targets. i assume you're getting that? >> reporter: we're seeing something a little different on the state television channel here. we just watched some military
9:37 pm
looked like generals or commanders in a hospital going around bed to bed, a couple of the people in the beds had green military uniforms on, a couple were in bandages and had their clothing tripped away. but all the people we saw that were wounded in those hospital beds were -- looked like men and they looked like military aged men, some of them young men. we also saw a picture that was shown of 12 bodies that appeared to be in a morgue wrapped in white shrouds. the television cameras that were accompanying these military commanders interviewing what appeared to be soldiers, they were asking them what happened. one was showing a piece of shrapnel that he said had hit him. another one was saying 100%, 100%, meaning 100% support for
9:38 pm
moammar gadhafi. somebody else was saying that we will be victorious. one of the men in the bed there in the hospital did say where he was and when he was hit, that there were other civilians -- there were civilians around him and that those civilians were hit, as well. so the images that we're seeing on state television here, the images of the injured that they're broadcasting across the nation here are pictures of men, fighting age males that have been injured, some quite seriously. >> nic, stand by. arwa, as well. we have on the phone right now a woman in tripoli, an eyewitness to a number of these explosions that have occurred over the past hour or so. we don't want to mention her name for obvious reasons. but tell us what you saw and what you heard. >> i was asleep when suddenly we
9:39 pm
heard a huge explosion, and i need to remind you i am somewhere near the main military base in tripoli called mitiga. and it's the main air base that we have here in tripoli. i tried to run up to the roof and then i saw the second explosion. i saw a huge fire coming up from that place. there was a lot of noise and i can hear some shooting. i don't know if it's anti-aircraft or gunfire shooting, but it was very severe and very heavy. i was going downstairs and i heard the third explosion. and what was even much scarier than all this with what's happening is what's happening until now i heard the explosion is a lot of cars trying to march to central tripoli and from time to time we hear them coming out
9:40 pm
from the windows and they start shooting guns in civilian neighborhoods. so i'm assuming that gadhafi had been sending people to go to central areas and try to prove that he's still in command. this is putting terror in all neighborhoods. >> have you seen any evidence that gadhafi's military, his political leadership, are putting civilians, to use them potentially as human shields? >> no, but on state tv, he's trying to prove that, for some obvious reasons. he doesn't want his place to be shot. but nobody, as far as i know has volunteered to go there. >> obviously a dangerous situation right now. describe to us the difference between 24 hours ago and now, since these air strikes and missile strikes began, the mood
9:41 pm
in the libyan capital. >> in tripoli, people are not used to handling such a crisis. everybody is not aware of what to do in such emergencies. in some areas where the air strikes had been before, people were in a panic. everybody was running out of their homes because they think it's safer to be out on the streets. they're afraid the strikes will be in their buildings, which was in a way it was a catastrophe to see such panic happening in the street and all over tripoli. people were not prepared for it. >> are they more afraid of gadhafi and his troops or more afraid of the u.s., the british, the french who are now engaged in military strikes? >> no, they're afraid of gadhafi's reaction towards those strikes. everybody was happy with what the u.s. and what the international community is doing. but they're just afraid and too scared of his reaction.
9:42 pm
>> what do they think he's going to do? >> they think he may attack them in their homes. they don't have -- they actually don't have a limit of what he's capable of as a last resort. >> how much support do you think he has in tripoli, which is a big city, as you know? >> tripoli, for the anti-gadhafi people who are -- almost everybody is against him so far. but they're afraid to come out, because when they did, he attacked them very, very severely. many people died. we don't know the actual number that died because he kidnapped them from hospitals and tried to have every single person and injured person there is in tripoli before he allowed any media to come in. i saw myself africans and other nationalities cleaning up the street, cleaning every blood
9:43 pm
stain, everything there is in the street for not to see any proof of what he's doing to terrorize this community. >> you're a very courageous woman for even speaking to us on the phone from tripoli. be careful over there. we'll stay in close touch. good luck to you and all the people of libya. we're watching what's going on. we'll check in with arwa damon in a moment. she's in benghazi where the rebels are head quartered. a military action in libya followed by diplomatic efforts, we'll talk about what's going on with a former u.s. assistant secretary of state jamie ruben. that's coming up, as well. general kimmet is still here. much more right after this. [ male announcer ] opportunity
9:44 pm
is a powerful force. set it in motion... and it goes out into the world like fuel for the economy. one opportunity leading to another... and another. we all have a hand in it. because opportunity can start anywhere, and go everywhere. let's keep it moving. ♪ even though i'm a great driver, and he's... not so much. well, for a driver like you, i would recommend our new snapshot discount. this little baby keeps track of your great driving habits, so you can save money. [sighs] amazing.
9:45 pm
it's like an extra bonus savings. [ cackling ] he's my ride home. how much can the snapshot discount save you? call or click today. we're with you when you're saving for your dreams. [ woman ] when you want a bank that travels with you. with you when you're ready for the next move. [ male announcer ] now that wells fargo and wachovia have come together, what's in it for you? unprecedented strength, the stability of the leading community bank in the nation and with 12,000 atms and thousands of branches,
9:46 pm
we're with you in more ways and places than ever before. with you when you want the most from your bank. [ male announcer ] wells fargo. together we'll go far.
9:47 pm
[ gunfire ] within the past hour, the british military has confirmed new air strikes on libyan targets. the attacks follow a crisis meeting chaired by the prime minister david cameron at number 10 downing street. let's go there. not only british cruise missiles larged but now jet fighters launched attacks, as well. this confirmed by the british
9:48 pm
defense ministry. >> reporter: that's right. the ministry of defense said they launched missiles from their tornado gr-4 jets. these are jets specifically designed really to attack those sort of ground defenses. so this is probably part of that same campaign to try and basically attack libya's air defense capabilities on the ground. so these are the kinds of details we have been seeing coming out tonight. now, earlier prime minister david cameron came out and made a very brief but very strong statement explaining britain's military involvement saying it was both necessary and right. here's what he said. >> tonight, british forces are in action over libya. they are part of an international coalition that has come together to enforce the will of the united nations and to protect the libyan people. we have all seen the appalling
9:49 pm
brutality that colonel gadhafi has meted out against his own people and he has actually stepped up the attacks and the brutality that we can all see. so what we are doing is necessary, it is legal, and it is right. >> now, just an interesting fact about those tornado gr-4 jets. they flew out of here in england and it's about 3,000 miles, almost 5,000 kilometers there and back. that would be the longest bombing mission from britain since the falkland conflict in 1982. >> the british are all in this military operation. thank you very much. let's bring back retired general mark kimmet. the french have now launched air strikes from their jet fighters. the british have now done the same thing. the united states has launched tomahawk cruise missile strikes.
9:50 pm
but no jet fighters. would you expect that to change any time soon? >> at this point, probably not. it appears we're providing the backup support and some of the awacs and jamming. but to build this coalition, the president decided to take somewhat of a back seat with regards to this entire operation. let the coalition operation. let the coalition forces such as france and u.k. be out front, potentially arab league forces such as qatar and the emiratees out front. we'll provide the support and the backbone but the vast majority of fighter jets will not be wearing american flags on the left shoulder. >> about the arab participation which is really critical, i know the obama administration said they didn't want to do anything unless some of the arab league countries were involved. you mentioned united arab emirates, qatar.
9:51 pm
what military role do you anticipate they would play? >> well, i would hope they would play the same role that the saudi air force played in the first gulf war, which is that their wing tip to wing tip along with our french and british allies. that are very, very advanced capabilities. the f-16s that are flown by the emiratees are among the most advanced that we sell. they get a lot of training. they're capable of doing this. it won't be an issue of pilot skill but political will. >> we'll see if they have that political will to participate directly in a military campaign against libyan targets. general, thanks very much. much more of the breaking news coverage coming up here. we'll take a look at the political and diplomatic fallout from the creation of this no-fly zone. we're america's natural gas. and here's what we did today: we put almost three million americans to work... ...adding nearly 400 billion dollars to the economy. generated over two and a half million kilowatts
9:52 pm
of electricity... ...enough energy to power a quarter of america. we gave your kids a cleaner ride to school. kept the lights on during a calm day at the wind farm. heated 57 million u.s. homes. simmered grandma's chicken noodle soup. melted tons of recycled glass. roasted millions of coffee beans. provided electricity for nearly 29 million home computers. heated your bathwater. cooked your takeout. lit your way home. we helped america import less of its energy. cleared the air by burning cleaner than other fuel sources, with less pollutants and no mercury. and tomorrow, we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at the one time of year red lobster creates so many irresistible ways to treat yourself to lobster. like our new lobster-and-shrimp trio with a parmesan lobster bake,
9:53 pm
our decadent lobster lover's dream with both sweet maine and buttery rock lobster tails and eleven more choices, each served with a salad and unlimited cheddar bay biscuits. come celebrate lobsterfest right now at red lobster. each served with a salad and unlimited cheddar bay biscuits. usa prime credit. you have question?. ok...peggy. yes, i have 100,000 reward points. what are my options? ooh, many options. ooh.
9:54 pm
one keychain. b, trucker cap. look good for ladies. uh ok, how 'bout cash? cash? he want cash! want better rewards? peggy? switch to discover. america's number 1 cash rewards program. it pays to discover. should i bundle all my policies with nationwide insurance ? watch this. on one hand, you have your home insurance with one company. and on another hand, you have your auto with another. and on another hand, you have your life with another. huh... but when you bundle them all together with nationwide insurance... ... they all work together perfectly-- and you could save 25%. wow... it's all in the wrists. ♪ nationwide is on your side
9:55 pm
the military action in libya's rooted in diplomacy. members of the arab league will play a role, we're told. of course, launched after the united nations approved the use of force. let's take a closer look with ji my reuben, former assistant secretary of state joining us from new york. there's potential for this coalition unraveling maybe even sooner rather than later. what do you think? >> well, the issue is that there is a kind of vagueness to the political, military objectives here. clearly the international community was not willing to stand by, stand idly by and allow gadhafi to slaughter the -- up to a million people who are living in benghazi. but beyond that, it seems to me
9:56 pm
there is very little coherence between the military hardware, the military action taking place and these broad, political objectives. getting rid of gadhafi is not going to happen by what we're seeing through air power, suppression of air defrs and no-fly zone and protecting civilians is a pretty broad mission if you interpret it broadly. i think in the end what we've seen is a military commitment on the part of the various governments, european, perhaps arab as you say, the united states to really deter and deny gadhafi the ability to conduct a mass slaughter but beyond that i think the coalition is a little shaky. >> shaky in the sense that do you really expect that the arab league countries whether, the uae or qatar or others will be involved militarily? >> well, i assume that all of
9:57 pm
this talk wouldn't have taken place if they're not going to be participating in let's call it patrolling libyan air space to deter the gadhafi air forces from flying, to enforce the no-fly zone but when it comes to protecting civilians, the broad mission president obama spoke about yesterday, when he spoke to the american people about this mission, and the air to ground attacks that would be involved, that is attacking armor and attacking gadhafi's forces that's hard to say them doing at this point. >> jamie rubin, continuing this conversation. thanks very much. our breaking news coverage continues with don lemon and john vause. they're coming up next in "the cnn newsroom." flying brings more challenges everyday. but if you ask any of the pilots that work here: they'll say: one of the first things they learned in
9:58 pm
flight school... is that if you run before the wind... you can't take off. you've got to turn into it. face it. the thing you push against is the thing that lifts you up. so, every challenge really, is a chance to show that even in this crazy world of : no liquids, take your shoes off cost cutting and route canellations someone in this industry still has the passenger's back. it starts with a simple "hello" and it ends in over three- hundred fifty destinations woldwide. and along the way we'll prove we're not just building a bigger airline we're building a better one.
9:59 pm
i don't have to leave my desk and get up and go to the post office anymore.
disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 6/19/2011